Other development options

There are several options for getting involved in the installation and this can lead to significant savings. For instance, it may be possible for the owner of the land, with other volunteers, to carry out some of the construction work, power house building and laying of electrical cabling. It is important that the installer retains control and management of the scheme to ensure a successful installation.

It is possible to build a system yourself, with sufficient technical knowledge. Systems that people have built range from ones that use old gear boxes - ones that are based around water wheels to highly engineered ones such as the South Somerset one.

Examples of people who have done this, at various levels, include:

Beck Mickle Micro Hydro Generator - Ian Gilmartin and Bob Cattley prototyped a small head gravity waterwheel design made from reused yoghurt pots.

Video of homemade turbine

Judy Woods' DIY installation

Excellent resources at Build it Solar - The Renewable Energy site for Do-It-Yourselfers

Build it yourself generator

Water power from your tap

Water wheels

Although the concept of water wheels is very old, they can prove to be cost effective, especially for low head sites.

The development of waterwheels has been pioneered by Paul and Ingrid Pedley of Pedley Wheels. They installed their first prototype in Sri Lanka in 1998, producing about 1 Kw of electricity. This wheel now supplies 25 houses with electricity – powering fridges, sewing machines and

They have also installed wheels at Pow Gill in Cumbria and Stormaway in the Hebrides and soon to be installed a 4 Kw wheel at Holywell in North Wales, a 2.5 Kw wheel at Ludlow in Shropshire and a 5 Kw one in Derbyshire, providing power for two houses.

Their wheels have an installed cost of about £4000 per kilowatt in this country.
For more details see www.pedleywheel.org.uk

Other useful sites include:

Water Wheel Power Generation – a DIY Hydro electric power project that claims a continuous 50w of 12 volt power from a stream.

Undershot Water Wheel Generator - Allan discusses how he made a small undershot water wheel generator which supplements solar to charge a battery bank.

Floating Waterwheel Barricade - How a floating waterwheel barricade can retrieve energy from flowing water in an open river or stream.

Build It Yourself Overshot Waterwheel

Joe's water wheel – a simple water wheel to produce 500 watt hours a day

Build you own water wheel micro hydro from RE UK


Water Wheel Pumps

As well as producing electricity, water power can also be used to pump water.

See below for further info:

Spiral Water Wheel Pump - John Hermans describes his home made 'positive displacement pump' made using a spiral water wheel to pump water uphill.

Spiral tube waterwheel pumps - Peter Morgan describes the design and installation of prototype and production of simple but very effective spiral waterwheel pumps.

Home Made Hydraulic Ram Pump - All the information, diagrams, plans and videos for those wanting to build their own hydraulic ram pump

Build Your Own Water Wheel for pumping water

Next: Case studies

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